The efficiency of nitrogen stabilizer at different soil temperatures on the physiological development and productivity of maize (Zea mays L.)
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Nitrogen (N) stabilizer containing nitrapyrin inhibitor is responsible for slowing the activity of Nitrosomonas sp. bacteria down which oxidize ammonium to nitrite ions, thus, N-loss resulting from nitrate leaching can be reduced. Although prior studies have shown its effectiveness in the pre-sowing application in maize, considering that it disturbs the activity of Nitrosomonas bacteria which is the most intense between 25 °C and 30 °C, soil temperature may significantly influence the efficiency of nitrapyrin. Besides, nitrapyrin aims to enhance N-use efficiency in high N-demanding plants, such as maize, which demands N at the most during stalk elongation, which lays down the reason for its subsequent application. This study focuses on the efficiency of nitrapyrin at different soil temperatures and its impacts on the physiological development and productivity of maize. In a laboratory test, 10 °C, 15 °C, 20 °C, and 25 °C temperature soils were treated with nitrapyrin and change of nitrate content was monitored to observe the nitrification dynamic. Results show that as the soil temperature elevated, the inhibition efficiency increased. In a field experiment with maize, nitrapyrin was applied in 13 °C and 25 °C temperature soil. Results suggest the later treatment enhanced N-use efficiency, as, during the high N-demanding growth stage, more N-forms were available in the soil. This resulted in significantly higher relative chlorophyll concentration in the leaves and laboratory leaf analysis confirmed the prevention of N deficiency. Results of further measurements on parameters indicating biomass production such as root mass, stalk diameter, ear size, 1,000-kernel weight indicate that the nitrapyrin application should be timed later.